Any tips on acceptance?: Bear with me, this... - Anxiety Support

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Any tips on acceptance?

Ellishart profile image

Bear with me, this is long, but I hope this can be a thread that helps others too.

It seems to me that the major sticking point for me (and many of us) is acceptance. I UNDERSTAND that I have anxiety. But when I experience physical symptoms, I am unable to ACCEPT that those feelings come from that anxiety. I foolishly believe that, if it "really is just anxiety," that my very understanding that I have anxiety should be enough to PREVENT those feelings from EVER happening. So when they do, and when those feelings are extreme, I toss "understanding" out the window and immediately rush back to a belief that I am dying of a brain tumor, heart condition, cancer, HIV/AIDS, and so on down the line to whatever illness it is that a doctor (who I see frequently) could have missed most recently.

Having read Claire Weekes, having been in therapy for almost a year, and having spent so much time here and talking with others, it seems to me that I have an acceptance problem. I cannot seem to get my brain to move from understanding what anxiety can and does do to me to accepting that it is doing that and no longer panicking at the physical symptoms it produces. This is where I am stuck.

I have stacks of CBT worksheets and a journal. I do meditation and yoga. I get massages and see a chiropractor. But the moment my physical symptoms pass a certain threshold, it's like none of it matters.

I have yet to find a strategy that allows me to work towards actual acceptance. Have any of you? Any suggestions, no matter how silly, are totally welcome. I am absolutely shameless when it comes to trying solutions. How do we accept this? How do we get to the point where we feel a physical sensation like extreme dizziness and accept that it is part of our anxious condition and not a separate, severe illness?

8 Replies

I would like to leave a reply, and hope that you can take it in a manner which is not really possible on-line, Basically, life ends in tragedy, it allays does. In between, however, you are alive, which a lot of people cannot say the same. If you use the time to predict the end, how could you say that you ever lived?

S**t happens, what happens when that happens is real life, you get through it some how, (which is why you are still here). I have sympathy with your anxiety, oh, the wee small hours of the morning... when you can do nothing about the concerns anyway, then they all turn out nothing. I have made up a technique where I re-direct my mind to doing a mental task I have planed in advance, once it was piloting an aircraft, from setting controls taxying, take off, en route , going through the minutiae of cockpit drills. Another, the journey to Mars by spacecraft, all the way to landing. in every detail. (must write it down sometime). I read of an American Vietnam prisoner of war who spent nights in the stockade planning exactly how he was going to build a house when he got home, brick by brick, brush-stroke by brush stroke, remembering where he left of the night before, to focus on something to settle the mind. The task doesn't matter, only that it get you away from the anxiety. If it is of anxiety about some tasks that you are going to have to do the next day: write them down so you don't have to remember them..

I have no truck with belief, but the religions raise that suffering is the lot of being human, and exploit believers with a false hope. Instead we live at a time where we can live with the very best food, sanitation, accommodation, healthcare that has ever been provided by us, ourselves, and the system we have put in place for that. (Imagine you lived in an African village, where the first thing you had to do each morning was find a place to shit.. yes, a travel program showed that .... stuff that. ) . Still there is much we can improve on, the doom sayers have been going on for several thousand years and have been wrong every time. As we accept what we have as the norm, we tend to forget all this. Then there is the trick of not living the life in front of you but loosing yourself in imagination, which is what a lot of writers do with fantastic stories. The medical probability of you living to a ripe old age is about 95%, utterly worn out by it all , but what a ride.

Great reply and I completely agree with you x

hi the way I see it I cant force it out my head and suddenly become better.i get up each day hopefully with a clear head that its going to be a good day.learning not to wake up each day thinking oh I have depression or anxiety so I will stay at home and do nothing.its best to get up and do everyday chores work things like that.the more we think about it the harder it gets.beside your bed draw a little happy face or write encouraging words even take something with you throughout the day that urges you on.and if you feel down always remember tomorrow is another day.

Go to YouTube wonderbro and anxiety. He is awesome and he follows Clare weekes. He has really helped me a lot. Also I use anxietycentre.com great web site.. they are all about acceptance and can help you better understand it..hope this helps you..

Calm_mama profile image
Calm_mama in reply to Jansblu2

I agree. I like wonderbro a lot :)

***Trigger warning- death/dying mentioned*** Hi Ellishart I hear your frustration. It is not easy to change our minds about things. I have some resources listed on my profile. I read them each a million times, and this has helped me tremendously. This one in particular may be helpful to you: jonabram.web.unc.edu/files/...

The other thing I have done (and still do) that really helps me, is I lean into the possibilities that my anxiety conjures up. I know it's nuts, but if my anxious mind tells me I have a new, life-threatening arrhythmia, I say, "Bring it on. I'm going to have the craziest arrhythmia ever, and maybe this is it. I'll head straight to heaven (ha ha, maybe), and see my peeps and pets from the past." If my anxious mind tells me I most certainly am having an allergic reaction to some food or medicine (since the symptoms of panic mimic a severe allergic reaction ie shortness of breath, feels like throat is closing up... you can see how easy it is to confuse the two) I say, "Okey doke. It's my time. I'll just try to stay comfortable while I fade away here..."

In other words, I have embraced the notion of death. Not in a suicidal kind of way at all, but rather, in an acceptance way. This was not easy at first, as death is the great unknown. We are all conditioned to fear it I think. I have solid, strong faith, and this has certainly helped. I am not completely fearless of death of course, but have become much more comfortable with the concept after much practice with this approach. I also started working in geriatrics and hospice a few years ago, and this helped me a lot. The death I see is so very peaceful and comfortable. Now in reality, I'm too young to die and I'm quite healthy. The odds are simply against it. But when my time comes... so be it. In practicing this way of thinking, while pushing forward with life no matter how I feel, I have lost almost all the fear of my phantom physical symptoms.

The other benefit of practicing this way of thinking is that it has pushed me towards mindfulness. If I see death as a not-so-scary possibility every day, I'm inspired to live each day, hour, and moment as best I can. If this is my last hour, shouldn't I make it a great one? Shouldn't I go ahead and goof off rather than work sometimes? Maybe I should have that Xtra scoop of ice cream after all.. Stop and smell the roses... tell my loved ones how much they mean to me...

Having the courage to consider the most anxiety-provoking thing: my own demise, and knowing that I really have very little control over when it happens, has paradoxically allowed me so much more freedom from my anxiety.

Anxiety really is such a paradox in so many ways.

Willie211 profile image
Willie211 in reply to Calm_mama

Good post -

I'm in my 60's and have suffered for years with "nerves". The only way - and I mean the only way - is to accept where you are at. Acceptance is the only way. Accept everything. Let all the noise come and go and accept everything about your feelings and pains. And remember this - you are not alone - Hear me - you are not alone. There are millions upon millions of people in a world of over 7 billion that are suffering to one degree or another. Trust me on this. I've seen it all. Claire is right - completely right. Acceptance takes time too. You think you are accepting sometimes but then you realize after a while you didn't completely accept a certain problem or symptom. That's OK - just keep quietly practicing. One more thing - Listen to me now. You are not abnormal. You are not defective. You are perfectly normal but your nerves are tricking you and messing with you. Don't go running to doctors because it doesn't work - as most have found out. It only complicates things. Remember - YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

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